Friday, October 26, 2012

The story of Blush continues...

 
Blush:  Masterminded by Alex.  This tomato spawned a "rule" of breeding that we live by.

Blush was recently a taste-test winner in Pennyslvania.  Check out the tally sheet from the Franklin County Master Gardener's taste test (September 11, 2012)

Our julienne cherry tomato -- Blush -- was created when Alex (age 8 at the time) decided to cross his two favorite tomatoes.  It has been turning heads ever since.

Blush has also been very important as a parent line:  A few years ago, when we had accumulated a group of round, striped cherry tomatoes, they looked great, but didn't compete with Blush in flavor.  What did we do?  We held them back, and crossed every single one to Blush.  We think it was worth it, and now you can decide if you agree, because some of Blush's descendents are now available.

A little more history:  The year that the cross that created Blush was made, Alex participated in setting up crosses for our annual winter crossing list.  He chose 3 of the 19 crosses to be made that year, after the other 16 had been established (by a PhD-holding plant breeder with big plans).  The striking outcome is that about 90% of the value from that year came from Alex's 3 crosses.  The progeny from his crosses continue to permeate most everything we are doing.  

What was Alex's breeding secret?  He crossed his favorite tomatoes.

He didn't try to "fix" cool looking, but poor tasting, varieties.  He picked his 4 favorite tomatoes and suggested 3 crosses.  The striking results from that year spawned "Alex's Rule" of tomato breeding:  Cross tomatoes that taste great with other tomatoes that taste great -- because it is hard to get a mediocre-tasting tomato from two parents who taste great.